NEW DELHI: The Union Ministry of Human Resources and Development (HRD) ministry will seek views from the Women and Child Welfare (WCD) Ministry and the Law Ministry over use of word `sex' in sex education, as it feels some sections could feel offended by the use of this word.
A senior ministry official said as the subject is a sensitive issue and involves children education on sex, the government wants to ensure that there is no scope of the matter getting embroiled into a controversy.
Recently, the HRD ministry forced a committee, an expert panel to amend and redraft its recommendations on sex education as the word sex, it felt could offend certain segments.
The committee had made a half-page recommendation on adolescent education, focussing on learning pattern and education against unprotected sex.
While the committee suggested that adolescents be provided with "age-appropriate context intervention focused on reproductive and sexual health concerns, including HIV-AIDS and drug and substance abuse," this was substituted as "The Adolescent Education Programme and National Population Education Programme need to be extended to all schools as early as possible."
The HRD ministry is of the view that children are a vulnerable and lack both power and information to make informed decisions and choices. These decision often include making decision with their sex lives which may have serious repercussions on their lives.
Atleast 35% of the new cases of AIDS cases in India are amongst people aged between the ages of 15-24. In year 2007, the WCD ministry had done a survey in 13 states in which 53% of those interviewed said that had gone through one or more forms of sexual abuse while over 20% said that they went through severe abuse.
The government is also concerned that being party to Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), 1989 and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), any controversy emerging in this regard would dent its image globally.
Earlier, the United Nations Economic and Social Council, as part of the ICESCR's provision on a right to health, stated that state parties should refrain from censoring, with holding or intentionally misrepresenting health-related information, including sexual education and information as well as from preventing people’s participation in health-related matters.
Cases of HIV have been on high in India with cases mostly coming in from age group of 15-24, which according to a government official makes it more of a serious case for India to educate children accordingly.